In a video that recently circled the web, two men in boxer shorts and straw hats seem to be taking in the beauty of nature atop the Grand Canyon. The sky is a clear blue, and the weather appears warm and inviting. But then things take a terrible turn for the worst.
One of the men lays out a trail of bread crumbs for a squirrel that’s running around his feet. He then proceeds to purposefully put on one green and gray sneaker.
The innocent squirrel never saw what happened next coming. In the spirit of utter cruelty, the man kicks the squirrel into the abyss of the Grand Canyon. The video is pretty horrible, but if you want to view it, you can do so here.
The user who uploaded the original 15 second video to YouTube says that he was an innocent bystander of the evil joke, and that he didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late.
There‘s Nothing Funny About Kicking a Squirrel into the Grand Canyon
The two men, who are believed to be French, or French Canadian, could be in trouble for the macabre prank.
As reported in The Independent, a £10,000 ($16,870) reward is available to anyone who helps the police track down these animal abusers and “heartless thugs.”
Various PETA branches came together to support the cause. Branches from the United States, the United Kingdom and France want to see that these two individuals are caught. However, Grand Canyon park officials worry that the chances of catching and bringing the pair to justice are slim.
As reported in The Independent, the spokesperson for PETA UK, Ben Williamson, said that the heartless individual and his companion need to be caught before they act again: “It is imperative that any community faced with a sadistic and violent act such as this take measures to find the culprit or culprits and bring them to justice.”
Catching this pair is not just about keeping animals and wildlife safe — it’s about keeping people safe, too. As PETA explains, “Psychiatrists, FBI profilers, and law-enforcement officials have repeatedly documented that people who are cruel to animals are likely to turn that violence against humans; a university study showed that those who abuse animals are also five times more likely to commit crimes against people.”
Is This Animal Cruelty?
The good news is that park authorities could identify the scene of the crime per the backdrop. But even if the pair were found, the punishment wouldn’t match the crime. While the squirrel probably lost his life, the pair could be charged of disturbing, or harassing, the park’s wildlife; the federal petty offense means a maximum of six months of jail time or a $5,000 fine.
Charging the men with animal cruelty would be a long stretch. As reported in The Independent, Bill Wright, the chief ranger at the Grand Canyon, explained that animal cruelty charges would only be possible if authorities found that the particular squirrel was killed or injured as a result of the incident. The canyon’s abyss where the squirrel was kicked has an average depth of one mile, so it’s a pretty daunting and almost impossible task.
Celebrating Sadistic Animal Cruelty Online
As outrageous as kicking a squirrel off the Grand Canyon is, sadly, similar or worse crimes are documented on the internet everyday. Remember how the fury of social media brought the tortoise abusing teenage girls to justice after they doused the animal in alcohol, set him on fire and stomped him until his organs started squeezing out? That was a victory for the animals, but what about the kitten who was fed to a python, the Maine kitten who was microwaved or the dog abuse “dog tornado” videos?
Justice for animals seems to come too late or never at all. That’s a fatal flaw on platforms like YouTube. As The Washington Post explains, the only way that content containing animal abuse can be reviewed is when other users flag it as inappropriate. Meanwhile, there are internal systems that automatically flag child pornography, and YouTube will report it to the police. The Humane Society suggests directly contacting the FBI because flagging isn’t enough.
If the platforms aren’t going to do anything to stop animal cruelty, then it’s up to you to stop it. You don’t have to be an actor like Fisher Stevens on TMZ to spread the word about this cruel act. If you have any information about the men in the Grand Canyon video, please alert the authorities. And if you don’t, then you can still help by spreading the word and their images to your network. You could save another life — animal or human — in the process.
Photo Credit: Jim Bauer